Hyundai 3.3L V6 Engine Problems – How Bad Is It?

Hyundai 3.3L V6 Engine Problems – How Bad Is It?

February 5, 2024 0 By CarGuy

Are you looking to purchase a Hyundai with the 3.3L Lambda engine? If that’s the case, then you are in the right place because this article will be all about the Hyundai 3.3L V6 engine problems.

Doing good and thorough research before you decide to buy a car is always a good idea. Out there are plenty of cars that have dubious reliability scores. Knowing which are the good ones and which are the bad ones will save you a ton of money. This is why we are here to help you out.

First, we will cover the Hyundai 3.3L V6 engine specs and applications. In the second part, we will discuss the Hyundai 3.3L V6 engine problems, reliability, and life expectancy. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the article.

Hyundai 3.3L V6 Engine Specs

The 3.3L engine is part of the famous Lambda family by Hyundai. This engine family was introduced in 2005.

Nevertheless, the 3.3L engine is a V6 design that was created for the larger Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis models. These engines are assembled in Asan, South Korea, and Montgomery, Alabama.

This engine design uses an aluminum block and an aluminum cylinder head. The engine is chain-driven. The cylinder heads implement a double overhead camshaft layout with four valves per cylinder.

This engine implements some advanced technologies, such as dual variable valve timing and direct injection. Some of these engines are naturally aspirated while some are turbocharged.

Nevertheless, here are the most important specifications for this engine.

  • Configuration: V6
  • Displacement: 3.3L
  • Bore: 92 mm
  • Stroke: 83.8 mm
  • Block & Head Material: Aluminum
  • Head Design: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Variable Valve Timing: Yes
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated or Turbocharged
  • Fuel Injection: Port (MPI) or Direct (GDI)
  • Horsepower: 230 – 294 hp
  • Torque: 224 – 376 lb-ft (304 – 510 N-m)

Hyundai 3.3L V6 Engine Applications

Now let’s take a look at the common applications of the 3.3L Lambda engine.

Lambda I (G6DB) MPI Original 2005 engine

  • 2005 – 2008 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2007 – 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2006 – 2008 Hyundai Azera
  • 2007 – 2009 Kia Opirus
  • 2005 – 2009 Kia Sorento

Lambda II (G6DB) MPI – Improved Lambda II MPI

  • 2008 – 2009 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2008 – 2009 Hyundai Azera
  • 2010 – 2012 Kia Opirus

Lambda II (G6DF) MPI – Second improvement

  • 2013 – 2019 Hyundai Grand Santa Fe
  • 2012 – 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2016 – 2019 Kia Cadenza
  • 2014 – 2020 Kia Carnival
  • 2014 – 2020 Kia Sorento

Lambda II (G6DH) GDI – First GDI Version

  • 2012 – 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2011 – 2016 Hyundai Grandeur/ Azera
  • 2013 – 2018 Hyundai Maxcruz/Santa Fe XL / Grand Santa Fe
  • 2011 – 2016 Kia Cadenza
  • 2014 – 2020 Kia Sorento
  • 2014 – 2018 Kia Carnival

Lambda II (G6DM) GDI – Improved GDI

  • 2015 – 2021 Kia Cadenza
  • 2018 – 2020 Kia Carnival
  • 2016 – 2022 Hyundai Grandeur / Azera

Lambda II RS MPI (G6DM) – Rear Wheel Drive MPI engine

  • 2008 – 2011 Hyundai Genesis

Lambda II RS GDI (G6DH) – Rear Wheel Drive GDI engine

  • 2016 – 2020 Genesis G80
  • 2011 – 2016 Hyundai Genesis
  • 2012 – 2018 Kia K9

Lambda II RS T-GDI (G6DP) – Rear Wheel Drive GDI Turbo engine

  • 2016 – 2020 Genesis G80
  • 2015 – 2021 Genesis G90
  • 2017 – Present Genesis G70
  • 2018 – Present Kia K9
  • 2017 – 2023 Kia Stinger

Hyundai 3.3L V6 Engine Problems

Now let’s list the common problems with the 3.3L engine.

  1. Coil Pack Failure
  2. Carbon Buildup
  3. Oil Consumption
  4. Rod Bearing Failure
  5. Oil Leaks

1. Coil Pack Failure

The first problem on our list of Hyundai 3.3 engine problems is the coil pack failure. So, what is the ignition coil and why does it fail?

Well, the ignition coil sits over the spark plug. This engine uses individual coils that are known as a coil pack.

Since this is a V6 engine, there is a total of 6 coils. One per cylinder and these coils are mounted right above the spark plug.

What these coils do is act as electrical transformers. They transform the 12v supply from the battery into a high current. Then they drive this power to the spark plug and that’s how spark is created.

So, when an ignition coil fails, you can guess what it happens. There is no spark, the spark is not consistent.

This situation will trigger the check engine light and there will be engine misfires. In worse cases, you will not be able to start the engine, there can be limp mode, or the engine can stall. But if it runs, it will run poorly because it will misfire.

You can troubleshoot the problem by swapping the coils and seeing if the misfire code goes to the next cylinder. If it does, you found the culprit for the problem.

You can replace one coil and save a ton of money. This is why there is no reason to replace all of them if they are good.

Now let’s move on to the next Hyundai 3.3 GDI engine problems.

2. Carbon Buildup

The second most common problem with these 3.3 GDI engines is the carbon buildup that occurs on the intake valves.

It is worth noting that this problem only troubles the GDI. This is the engine that uses direct injection instead of old-fashioned port injection. MPI are the port-injected engines and these engines do not create such issues.

So, what is the problem here? How does this carbon get accumulated? Well, the answer is simple, in port injection, gas is injected through the intake ports. Intake valves are washed by the gasoline.

While in direct-injected engines, fuel is injected through a different method. So, the intake valves over long use become covered with carbon deposits.

These carbon deposits can become extremely excessive and prevent the valves from opening and closing properly. In these cases, you get check engine light, engine misfires, low engine power, and low compression.

So, in order to prevent valve failure, it is important that you clean the valves with a method known as walnut blasting every 60,000 miles or so. This way your GDI engine will be free of carbon.

3. Oil Consumption

Oil consumption is a big problem for Hyundai engines, including the 3.3L version of the Lambda engine.

Although there are many versions of this engine that we listed previously, all of them suffer from serious oil consumption when they reach mileage above 100,000 miles. So, why does this happen?

Well, this is a problem by design. What happens is that the rings get filled with carbon deposits and glue on the piston.

When this happens, you no longer have a proper seal. The oil is free to leak down to the combustion chamber.

The solution for oil consumption is an engine rebuild or a new short block. What we recommend in this case is to get a short block that is fully assembled. This way you will be good for another 100,000 miles.

4. Rod Bearing Failure

Rod bearing failure is another very common problem of the Hyundai 3.3 GDI engine. So, why rod bearing occurs?

This is a problem that plagues every Lambda and Theta engines. These engines have poor lubricating capability. There is a lack of oil going to the rod bearings.

And you can imagine what will happen if the bearings are not lubricated. Oil not only lubricates but also dissipates heat. So, if there is no oil, there will be too much heat and too much wear.

When the rod bearings wear too much, the engine will simply spin a bearing or completely seize.

This problem will require a new short block to be installed. This problem happens randomly, especially on engines that are poorly maintained, and oil changes are rarely done.

Now let’s move on to the last of our Hyundai 3.3 V6 engine problems list.

5. Oil Leaks

Oil leaks are the last problem that we are going to cover. This is not a serious problem but can become expensive to fix.

There can be a variety of oil leaks on these 3.3L engines. These include, leaks from the valve covers, front and rear main seal leaks, oil pan gasket leaks, oil drain bolt leaks, and also oil leaks from the timing cover.

Especially the leaks from the timing cover can be very expensive to fix because a lot of parts have to be removed to reach the timing cover.

This is why we advise that you inspect the car for leaks before purchase.

Hyundai 3.3L V6 Engine Reliability

The reliability of the Hyundai 3.3L V6 is pretty average. This engine is not one of the best engines out there but also it is not very bad like the Hyundai Theta engine for example.

Your best bet would be to find a good example with low mileage if you want to have this vehicle in the long term. Higher mileage samples above 100,000 miles are extremely risky for purchase, unless, you can afford to replace the engine.

Hyundai 3.3L V6 Engine Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of these engines is about 150,000 miles. They often can fail much sooner if poorly maintained.

This is why we advise avoiding these higher mileage engines and opt for a lower mileage sample if you can. Or simply go for a different brand.


Overall, the 3.3L engine is one pretty average engine in terms of reliability. The engine produces good power and delivers excellent performance. But it lacks in the reliability department.

It is a serious oil consumer and can easily spin a bearing and fail. Especially if it’s poorly maintained by its previous owners.


What are the common Hyundai 3.3L V6 engine problems?

Common problems of this engine include coil pack failure, oil consumption, oil leaks, and rod bearing failure.

Is the Hyundai 3.3L V6 engine reliable?

The reliability of this engine is pretty average. The engine if maintained well can reach more than 150,000 miles. But if it’s poorly maintained, it will not last for a very long time.

If you want to read more on Hyundai problems you can check our articles on the 2.4 Theta engine and the 2.5 Smartstream.